Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I Learned In This Year of Beekeeping

Every fall since starting this blog, I take some time on this blog to examine what I've learned during the past year of beekeeping. So keeping with that tradition, here are some of the things I've learned:

  1. The Importance of ventilation and moisture absorption in wintering hives-- Two years ago none of my hives survived the winter. Last year, all my hives survived and one of the key differences in my approach between the two years was how I prepared my hives for winter. (I recognize that the nature of each winter could also accounted for differing survival rates!) Last year, I placed a quilt box on the top of each hive to assure more ventilation and moisture absorption.
  2. How to Use a Cloake Board--  Using sources found on the internet, I taught myself how to raise queens through the Cloake Board method. I found this method to be more suitable to the small size of my operation than other approaches I have learned.
  3. Successfully Grafted Larvae--  Two summers ago I learned to graft at the University of Minnesota. This spring, I was able to successfully apply that technique to my own operation.
  4. Develop a Contingency Plan for How to Use Created Nucs-- In my enthusiasm for raising my own queens, I failed to really think through what I was going to actually do with the nucs I created. I did finally give my extra nucs to a beekeeping friend with some room on his farm but not until one of the nucs swarmed. This failure led to my battle with the city council. (see next point)
  5. Squeaky Wheels in the Neighborhood--  I learned that no matter how many people are supportive and understanding about your beekeeping endeavors in town, it only takes one "squeaky wheel" to set in motion a movement to either ban or regulate beekeeping.


lingistis said...


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the bees house said...

You certainly learnt alot - sorry to hear about no 5.
"For so work the honey bees, creatures that by a rule in nature
teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom."
William Shakespeare
Pity they cannot learn kindness and love thy neighbour!